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Packard27
Senior Contributor

Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

AG Community Guys & Gals,

 

Does anyone know the value or future job potential for a Midwest farmland land manager? A bright and ambitious youngster I know has spent a lot of his summer time working on his grandfather's small IL farm. He likes the gig. Although, inheriting even a modest family farm is not going to be in the cards for the boy. 

 

Unfortunately, his parents wish to see him grow up become a doctor, a lawyer, or engineer type of professional. As I said, he's a bright kid. I tell the parents that managing a major farm operation would (I think) include responsibilities involving logistics, leadership (directing a multi man workforce), accounting, marketing, IT skills, animal husbandry, and maintenance of equipment. In other words, large scale farming in 2020 ain't going to be anything remotely like it was back in the early 1970s when 360 acres and a couple of family tractors was the norm...in our area.

 

Okay, so if there is a job market out there for what I just described; what practical job experiences & education should the boy pursue to achieve this goal? Or, am I just plain wrong on this? Any thoughts?

 

As always, many thanks,

Packard 

6 Replies
hardnox
Advisor

Re: Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

I'm not aware of many positions of the sort you describe. In almost every large scale operation I'm aware of most of the highest reponsibility is reserved for family members.

 

Most of the jobs that are described as Farm Manager are basically rental agents with most of them also on the lookout for sales deals they can cut a fat one on.

 

I'll admit to having a farmer's prejudice agains that class of folks but there are certainly some better than others.

Packard27
Senior Contributor

Re: Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

Thanks Hard,

 

This helped. I'll put you down as a solid yes vote for Med School.

Cheers,

Packard

r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

I wouldn't put to much pressure on him being in med school if his heart isn't in it. When you don't love your work you will never be top notch. If he is bright enough to be a doctor he will find a way into farming if that is what he truely wants to do.

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

I know a young guy that started working for a BTO and endeared himself to them and now he is sort of a trail boss for the outfit.  He basically runs around with a fuel cart and seed tender in the fall helps where needed and rounds up part time help.  He has a free house with all utilities including satellite, makes $60K.   And if he can scrounge up a few acres of his own to rent, he can use their big machinery and i`ll bet doesn`t have a fuel expense.  He`s on vacation all winter and some of the summer, while the rest of us independent farmers are scratching our heads how to make the books balance.   That`s a pretty good gig, but how one gets into something like that is beyond most of our "people skills".   That kid is impressive though, I swear he has the plat book in 4 counties memorized, the acres and story on each farm.  He talks to everyone and can smell a farm that may come up for rent or sale.  But maybe that`s what it`ll take to get ahead these days in agriculture.

hardnox
Advisor

Re: Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

Med school isn't a sure bet either.

 

You come out with a $ quarter million in student loans and then need to scramble to find a high paying specialty to pay it off- tough to do building a GP gig and making $100K.

 

In a rational world there would be more GP's, fewer specialists. But no reason to believe that the world is to imminently become more rational.

 

Although, if you become a highly compensated surgeon or something of the sort it is one of the few routes to actually buying your way into farming, too. Although with current land values that's not very easy to imagine without something approaching a very high six figure income, if you're talking plain 'ol commodity farming.

 

 

RJG640v8
Advisor

Re: Career Question: Midwest farmland manager

I would suggest that he really look at a good Ag based school, get a B of S in Agronomy and a minor in Animal Science, or flip it the other way.

 

There are alot of Farm Manager Jobs for the Large Dairy Farms.

 

There are also alot of Big Custom Crews that do Planting and Harvesting that are looking for good people. As with most jobs, you may start out as a lower level employee, but be able to work your way up the food chain.....

 

Or, he takes his first job out of college, that is ag based, and starts networking and making contacts.  

 

The parents need to butt out as far as what he does............... should be about what he wants, if you have a passion for what you do, you won't work a day in your life.